Red Tornado #1 / The Torch #1 / Hercules: The Knives of Kush #2

This is Bob from the Weekly Comics Spotlight podcast with short reviews “by the #s” (with a rating out of 5) of the books we review on our weekly show.  I’m catching up on  a few weeks in a row here.
You can hear full the audio reviews For Episode #108 on the Episode page at ComicBookPage.com.

DC:  Red Tornado #1 (W: Kevin VanHook  A: Jose Luis / JP Mayer)
Bob: 4/5    John: 4/5
I was a bit skeptical about this series, since we just recently had a Red Tonado focused story in the last relaunch of the Justice League title, but Hevin VanHook hit some interesting new story beats here with the introduction of new family members representing the elements of fire/earth/water (as counterpoints to Reddy’s air).  Nice story advancement and solid art left me wanting more at the end, I’m on board for this mini.

Marvel: The Torch #1 (W: Alex Ross / Mike Carey  A: Patrick Berkenkotter / Carlos Lopez)
Bob: 4/5    John: 4/5
Another great mini-series, that while standing on its own, does follow out of the recent Avengers/Invaders mini (e.g. fans of that series should definitely be picking this one up too).  I liked the focus on Toro as we get some very interesting insight into his backstory.  Good setup for the return of the Jim Hammond Torch, and the characterization of the character “The Mad Thinker” (the best I have ever seen for this character) is worth the price of admission by itself.

Radical Publishing: Hercules: The Knives of Kush #2 (W: Steve Moore  A: Cris Bolson / Doug Sirois)
Bob: 4/5    John: 3/5
Another great foray into the world of ancient Greece with Radical’s Hercules.  This series follows on from last year’s “The Thracian Wars” and does so with style.  This has the signature Radical art, which is to say, it’s marvelous.  High adventure, mystery, and a few surprising plot twists along the way along the way make this a great issue of a comic.  That’s what I like about this: as a #2 comic, we get a satisfying chunk of story that advances the overall arc, there’s good plot advancement, some nice character moments, and the issue closes off on a scene that has me craving the next issue.  Just was a comic should be, good as an issue and part of an overall good story arc.

Red Circle: The Shield #1 / Secret Warriors #7 / Zero Killer #4

You can hear full the audio reviews For Episode #107 on the Episode page at ComicBookPage.com.

DC:  Red Circle: The Shield #1 (W: J. Michael Straczynski  A: Scott McDaniel)
Bob: 3/5    John: 3/5
A pretty good story by JMS, but it’s hard to see where this one is going since it’s one of 4 somewhat interlocking one-shots setting up new ongoing series that will be by a different creative team.  As a standalone issue, it was a pretty good story and I’m interested in the character, but it’s more of a setup than a complete story and as such, will really succeed or fail based on how the ball gets picked up in the ongoing series.

Marvel: Secret Warriors #7 (W: Jonathan Hickman  A: Alessandro Vitti)
Bob: 3/5    John: 3/5
I love this series and it’s normally a 5  out of 5 for me, however, this issue was my least favorite of the seven out to date by far.  A muddled story with not a lot of advancement of plot.  I’m sure the series will recover, Hickman is a solid writer, but this may not be the best entry point into the series for new readers.  Check out the trade of the 1st 6 issues instead.

Dark Horse: Zero Killer #4 (W: Arvid Nelson  A: Matt Camp)
Bob: 4/5    John: 3/5
It’s a huge credit to writer Arvid Nelson that I was able to get right back into this story after the 20+ month delay since issue #3 (which shipped in Nov 2007).  This is a great post-apocalyptic/ alternate history story with some spectacular art by Matt Camp, however, if you have not gotten into the series by now, it’s probably a good idea to just wait for the trade collecting the entire 6 issue series.  That said, if you read #1-3 back in 2007, you should be able to jump right back in with #4.  Hopefully #5 will be out before 2011…..

 Batgirl #1 / Daredevil #500 / Days Missing #1 / Archie #600

You can hear full the audio reviews For Episode #106 on the Episode page at ComicBookPage.com.

DC:  Batgirl #1 (W: Bryan Q. Miller  A: Lee Garbett/Trevor Scott)
Bob: 4/5    John: 4/5
A great #1 issue setting up this new series, and one of the better titles in the Bat family right now.  I’m very interested in seeing Stephanie Brown as Batgirl.

Marvel: Daredevil #500 (W: Ed Brubaker  A: Michael Lark/Stefano Gaudino)
Bob: 4/5    John: 4/5
One of the better Marvel anniversary issues and a great closure to Ed Brubaker’s run on Daredevil.  Brubaker did something similar to Bendis’ last issue in that while closing out his story he really shook up the status quo for the character and left DD in a really different/unique situation that I’m going to be very interested in seeing continue under the new creative team.

Archaia: Days Missing #1 (W: Phil Hester  A: Frazer Irving)
Bob: 5/5    John: 5/5
Great stand-alone story, but I have some misgivings about the rotating creative team each issue.  This issue was outstanding, will the team on #2 carry that on?  Time will tell.

Extras:
Bonus Book! Archie #600 by Archie Comics (W: Michael Uslan  A: Stan Goldberg)
Bob: 3/5    John: 3/5
A “What If” story on Archie speculating what his future would be like proposing to & marrying Veronica.  It struck me that after college the Archie gang set their sights pretty low for jobs like used car salesman running a nail salon, & being a burger chef, should not need a college degree to do this stuff.  Not being a regular fan of Archie comics, maybe I was just expecting too much.

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